Data reveals that India issued only 5,709 tourist visas during this year's January 1 to November 2 period, reflecting a staggering 91 per cent decrease compared to the entire year of 2022.
India granted notably fewer visas to Canadians during the period of January 1 to November 2, 2023, compared to the entirety of 2022, according to data from the Indian high commission in Ottawa reviewed by Business Standard.
The data reveals that India issued only 5,709 tourist visas during this year's January 1 to November 2 period, reflecting a staggering 91 per cent decrease compared to the entire year of 2022.
Additionally, the statistics show that India issued a mere 379 business visas in the same January 1 to November 2 period, marking an 85 per cent decline compared to the entirety of 2022.
Tensions escalated between India and Canada after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 18 made allegations suggesting a "potential" involvement of Indian agents in the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, on Canadian soil on June 18 in British Columbia. Nijjar had been designated as a terrorist by India in 2020.
India vehemently rejected these allegations, dismissing them as "absurd" and "motivated."
India expelled a senior Canadian diplomat in a retaliatory measure mirroring Ottawa's earlier expulsion of an Indian official related to the case. Days later, New Delhi declared a temporary suspension of visa issuance to Canadian citizens and requested Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in India. On November 22, India resumed electronic visa services for Canadian nationals after a nearly two-month pause.
|Decrease (in %)
|Number of tourist visas issued to Canadians by India
|Number of business visas issued to Canadians by India
|Number of medical visas issued to Canadians by India
|Number of conference visas issued to Canadians by India
*between January 1-November 2
Source: Indian high commission in Ottawa, Canada
While the data from the Indian high commission indicates a significant decline in the number of visas issued to Canadians in 2023, tour operators in India have not yet experienced the impact.
According to a Mumbai-based tour operator, the influx of tourists from Canada to India may reduce after some time.
Rajiv Mehra, President of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), stated to Business Standard, "On the ground, we have not observed any noticeable decrease in the number of tourists arriving from Canada, except during the period when visas were temporarily suspended. The decrease in visa issuances may be attributed to a substantial number of people of Indian origin residing in Canada who have transitioned to OCI cards and consequently do not require visas.”